Warts

Warts are small, noncancerous growths on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body. The most common type of wart that appears on the feet is called a plantar wart. The wart grows a hard callus covering causing everyday activities such as standing and walking to become painful. Plantar warts are typically small, about the size of a pencil eraser. Occasionally, they can grow larger or into clusters called mosaic warts.

 

Causes

Human Papillomavirus or HPV is the virus that causes plantar warts. HPV enters the body through tiny breaks or other weak areas of the skin on your feet. HPV is a prevalent virus with over 100 different variations. Certain variants cause plantar warts. Some types of HPV will cause warts on other parts of the body as well.

Plantar warts may go away on their own but often multiply and infect other parts of the foot. Plantar warts are contagious and may be spread to other members of your household by direct or indirect contact. It does thrive in warm, moist environments, which is why you can become infected by walking barefoot around shower areas, swimming pools, or locker rooms.

Every person responds differently to HPV, so not everyone who encounters the virus will develop plantar warts. Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop warts.

 

Diagnosis

There are three different ways your doctor will diagnose a plantar wart. The first way is by simply examining the lesion. The second way is paring the lesion and checking for signs of pinpoint dots (clotted blood vessels). The third way is removing a small part of the lesion and sending it to a lab for analysis. Doctors use this approach if it is unclear whether the growth is a wart.

 

Treatment

Plantar warts take time to go away, and the use of over-the-counter medications or home remedies may be sufficient. Most over-the-counter wart treatments include salicylic acid, which peels the wart. Generally, over-the-counter medicines are effective in about 50% of cases. If these treatments fail, then speak with your doctor about further treatment options.

Treatments your doctor in Mt. Greenwood can perform are typically more effective than over-the-counter treatments. It is important to note that plantar warts can still reappear even after successful treatment. Patients should monitor the area after treatment and report any reappearances to their doctor right away.

Cryotherapy 

With cryotherapy, a doctor applies liquid nitrogen to the wart. You might need to return for repeated treatments until the wart disappears. 

Immunotherapy

This is a method of using medications or other solutions to stimulate your immune system to fight warts. 

Minor Surgery 

A doctor cuts the wart and destroys it using an electric needle. Because there is a risk of scarring, this usually is not used unless other treatment methods have not worked.

Laser Treatment

Doctors burn closed or cauterize tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue will eventually die, and the wart will fall off. This is not a one-time treatment. You must repeat it every three to four weeks. 

If you have a plantar wart that causes pain and interferes with your daily life, or you have been unsuccessful in treating it at home, it is time to contact Keir Foot & Ankle. Patients in Mt. Greenwood, Worth, and Evergreen Park choose us for high-quality treatment of their plantar warts.

If you have a foot injury or a condition that’s getting worse, don’t live with the pain.

Care at Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists

If you have plantar warts that won’t go away, it’s time to visit the specialists at KFAS. 

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